6
Jan
2014

The Movies of 2014 – 1st Quarter

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The Movies of 2014 1st Quarter

Welcome to the first of four parts of an analysis of every major film release of 2014.

Following up on last year’s product, I’m back with a look at the films of 2014. Something different I’m trying this year is you will first get the quarterly breakdowns, and then an overall post will be like a part five that looks at the year as a whole.

  • Monday- 1st Quarter (January, February, March)
  • Tuesday – 2nd Quarter (April, May, June)
  • Wednesday - 3rd Quarter (July, August, September)
  • Thursday – 4th Quarter (October, November, December)
  • Friday – 2014 as a whole

There are some clear, “What in the world were they thinking?” projects coming out this year, and there are some that I think will surprise all of us.

Hopefully you enjoy this as it is a huge undertaking each year, but one I enjoy doing.

Please note that titles and release dates can change at any time, none of these are written in stone. One movie (Deliver Us From Evil) actually changed it’s title from the time I started writing these and before I finished them.

January

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Release Date: Jan. 3

Synopsis:

The story begins in June 2012, at a party in Oxnard, California. After a woman dies in the apartment beneath the party, some party goers take a camera to investigate. They discover items associated with black magic rituals, even the missing tapes, previously seen in Paranormal Activity 3. When Jesse, the film’s lead protagonist, discovers a mark on his arm, strange forces pursue him while Jesse’s loved ones attempt to save him.

Analysis: This series always does well, but this is the first to be released outside of the Halloween release window. Something tells me that won’t have much of an impact on it.

The Legend of Hercules

HERCULES- THE LEGEND BEGINS

Release Date: Jan. 10

Synopsis:

In Ancient Greece 1200 B.C., a queen succumbs to the lust of Zeus to bear a son promised to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the king and restore peace to a land in hardship. But this prince, Hercules, knows nothing of his real identity or his destiny. He desires only one thing: the love of Hebe, Princess of Crete, who has been promised to his own brother. When Hercules learns of his greater purpose, he must choose: to flee with his true love or to fulfill his destiny and become the true hero of his time. The story behind one of the greatest myths is revealed in this action-packed epic – a tale of love, sacrifice and the strength of the human spirit.

Analysis: The trailer and images make this look extremely generic, but it depends on how starved people are for a sword and sorcery film.

Devil’s Due

Release Date: Jan. 17

Synopsis:

After a mysterious, lost night on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple finds themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy. While recording everything for posterity, the husband begins to notice odd behavior in his wife that they initially write off to nerves, but, as the months pass, it becomes evident that the dark changes to her body and mind have a much more sinister origin.

Analysis: So, Rosemary’s Baby (kinda, sorta) for 2014. Devil baby movies are not known for being awesome. That being said, horror movies are doing well right now, so you never know where this may go.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit

Release Date: Jan. 17

Synopsis:

While working as a junior analyst for the CIA’s covert intelligence office, Jack Ryan inadvertently uncovers evidence of an imminent terrorist attack. With no intelligence to verify his discovery, Ryan is promoted to field agent and sent to Moscow to continue his investigation, where he soon encounters Viktor Cherevin, an enigmatic businessman at the centre of a plot to cripple the global economy. As Ryan learns to navigate the world of intelligence, fend off assassins and address the potential breakdown of his marriage, he comes to the realization that it may already be too late to stop Cherevin from ushering in an economic catastrophe of unprecedented scale.

Analysis: Do we need another Jack Ryan reboot? Do we need it with the fairly bland acting of Chris Pine? My prediction is a mediocre box office haul.

The Nut Job

The Nut Job

Release Date: Jan. 17

Synopsis:

In animated 3D, THE NUT JOB is an action-packed comedy in fictional Oakton that follows the travails of Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, and his rat friend Buddy, who plan a nut store heist of outrageous proportions and unwittingly find themselves embroiled in a much more complicated and hilarious adventure.

Analysis: Animated films have been pretty hit and miss as of late. I think I’m going to have to call this one a miss.

Ride Along

Release Date: Jan. 17

Synopsis:

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube lead the lineup in Ride Along, the new film from the director and the producer of the blockbuster comedy Think Like a Man. When a fast-talking guy joins his girlfriend’s brother—a hot-tempered cop—to patrol the streets of Atlanta, he gets entangled in the officer’s latest case. Now, in order to prove that he deserves his future bride, he must survive the most insane 24 hours of his life.

Analysis: I honestly have no idea how this will do. Judging from the trailer I’ve seen, I know I’m not interested.

I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein

Release Date: Jan. 24

Synopsis:

200 years after his shocking creation, Dr. Frankenstein’s creature, Adam, still walks the earth. But when he finds himself in the middle of a war over the fate of humanity, Adam discovers he holds the key that could destroy humankind. From the co-writer of the hit supernatural saga, UNDERWORLD, comes the action thriller I, FRANKENSTEIN, written for the screen and directed by Stuart Beattie, screen story by Kevin Grevioux and Stuart Beattie, based on the Darkstorm Studios graphic novel “I, Frankenstein” created by Kevin Grevioux. The story is brought to life by a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Jai Courtney, and Aden Young as Victor Frankenstein.

Analysis: The Underworld series does well, and I’m sure Lionsgate/Summit are looking at this as the potential launch of a new series. Do I think it will take off? Nope, even with the graphic novel tie-in.

Labor Day

Labor Day

Release Date: Jan. 31

Synopsis:

“Labor Day” centers on 13-year-old Henry Wheeler, who struggles to be the man of his house and care for his reclusive mother Adele while confronting all the pangs of adolescence. On a back-to-school shopping trip, Henry and his mother encounter Frank Chambers, a man both intimidating and clearly in need of help, who convinces them to take him into their home and later is revealed to be an escaped convict. The events of this long Labor Day weekend will shape them for the rest of their lives

Analysis: I really can’t fathom why Paramount chose to release this in Jan. as opposed to Sept., but I predict weakness no matter when it is released, but with great acting.

That Awkward Moment

Release Date: Jan. 31

Synopsis:

In support of a friend devastated by a recent breakup, three guys vow to maintain their single status for as long as possible. The plan gets derailed when they each fall in love and have to secretly work around their pledge to bachelorhood, while trying to figure out the complications of modern day relationships.

Analysis: Zac Efron is back! Wait, are we actually happy about this? I forget. His 15 minutes are up. Bomb.

February

The Lego Movie

THE LEGO MOVIE

Release Date: Feb. 7

Synopsis:

Chris Pratt (“Moneyball”) stars as the voice of Emmet.  Will Ferrell (“The Campaign”) stars as the voice of his primary adversary, President Business, an uptight CEO who has a hard time balancing world domination with micro-managing his own life; while Liam Neeson (“Taken” and “Taken 2,” Oscar nominee for “Schindler’s List”) voices the president’s powerful henchman, known as Bad Cop/Good Cop, who will stop at nothing to catch Emmet.

Analysis: The video games are popular, and who doesn’t love Legos? The trailer was pretty cute, so I’m thinking this one should do well.

The Monuments Men

The Monuments Men

Release Date: Feb. 7

Synopsis:

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements. From director George Clooney, the film stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett. The screenplay is by George Clooney & Grant Heslov, based on the book by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter. Produced by Grant Heslov and George Clooney.

Analysis: I have to say, I loved the trailer, and I love the cast, so this is a must see for me. Is it for the general movie going public? That remains to be seen, but I think this could be a moderate hit.

Robocop

Robocop 2014

Release Date: Feb. 14

Synopsis:

In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years, but have been forbidden for law enforcement in America. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine.

Analysis: While the trailers have improved, I’m still not convinced that this film needs to exist. The first film was an oddball success and a product of its time. I’m also not hearing a whole lot of buzz on it, so I’m thinking we have a dud.

About Last Night

Release Date: Feb. 14

Synopsis:

A modern reimagining of the classic romantic comedy, this contemporary version closely follows new love for two couples as they journey from the bar to the bedroom and are eventually put to the test in the real world.

Analysis: Apparently Feb. 14 is turning into “Lets release a remake day!” Another film that we definitely don’t need and I think the audiences will think the same.

Endless Love

Release Date: Feb. 14

Synopsis:

Endless Love stars Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) and Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) in the story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart. Directed by Shana Feste (Country Strong), the romantic drama co-stars Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi, Emma Rigby and Joely Richardson.

Analysis: See above where I said About Last Night was part of “Lets release a remake day!”? Well, this is the third remake of a 1980s film scheduled for Feb. 14. I have no clue how this worked out, but it did. That being said, who knows how this will do in this day and age, but it seems silly to me.

Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy

Release Date: Feb. 14

Synopsis:

Based on author Richelle Mead’s worldwide bestselling series, VAMPIRE ACADEMY tells the legend of Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), two 17-year-old girls who attend a hidden boarding school for Moroi (mortal, peaceful Vampires) and Dhampirs (half-vampire/half-human guardians). Rose, a rebellious Guardian-in-training and her best friend, Lissa – a royal vampire Princess – have been on the run when they are captured and returned to St.Vladamirs Academy, the very place where they believe their lives may be in most jeopardy. Thrust back into the perils of Moroi Society and high school, Lissa struggles to reclaim her status while Rose trains with her mentor and love-interest, Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky), to guarantee her place as Lissa’s guardian. Rose will sacrifice everything to protect Lissa from those who intend to exploit her from within the Academy walls and the Strigoi (immortal, evil vampires) who hunt her kind from outside its sanctuary.

Analysis: These young adult novel adaptations have been hit or miss. While Twilight and The Hunger Games rack(ed) up huge box office, Beautiful Creatures and Percy Jackson have not. There’s no way to predict how this one will do.

Winter’s Tale

Release Date: Feb. 14

Synopsis:

Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, “Winter’s Tale” is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil.

Analysis: From the brief description I really have no idea how this will do, but it stars Colin Farrell who is box office poison as of late.

3 Days to Kill

Release Date: Feb. 21

Synopsis:

A dying Secret Service Agent trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter is offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last assignment.

Analysis: It stars Kevin Costner as the Secret Service agent… I’m out.

Pompeii

Pompeii

Release Date: Feb. 21

Synopsis:

Set in 79 A.D., POMPEII tells the epic story of Milo (Kit Harington), a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia (Emily Browning), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him.

Analysis: Studios seem to be hitting the ancient stories a lot. Know why? They don’t have to pay anyone for the rights. The story of Pompeii is interesting enough, so why there is a need to layer a love story on top of it is beyond me.

Welcome to Yesterday

Release Date: Feb. 28

Synopsis:

A teenager prospers after using an almanac when time traveling, but doesn’t understand the ramifications of what he’s done until it’s too late in this found footage film.

Analysis: Found footage films are fairly tired, but they do enough business to warrant more of them. This one does slightly intriguing at least.

Non-Stop

Release Date: Feb. 28

Synopsis:

Global action star Liam Neeson stars in Non-Stop, a suspense thriller played out at 40,000 feet in the air. During a transatlantic flight from New York City to London, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) receives a series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into an off-shore account. Until he secures the money, a passenger on his flight will be killed every 20 minutes.

Analysis: Nesson films do pretty well at the box office, but films contained to planes don’t. Certainly doesn’t sound like much fun to me.

Son of God

Release Date: Feb. 28

Synopsis:

Now, the larger-than-life story of The New Testament gets a larger-than life treatment in the stand-alone feature SON OF GOD. Told with the scope and scale of an action epic, the film features powerful performances, exotic locales, dazzling visual effects and a rich orchestral score from Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado portrays Jesus as the film spans from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. It marks the first motion picture about Jesus’s life since Passion of the Christ, released ten years ago.

Analysis: Religious epics tend to do well, no reason why this shouldn’t follow suit.

March

300: Rise of An Empire

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE

Release Date: March 7

Synopsis:

Based on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes, and told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” this new chapter of the epic saga takes the action to a fresh battlefield—on the sea—as Greek general Themistokles attempts to unite all of Greece by leading the charge that will change the course of the war.

Analysis: I am not a huge fan of the first film, and I think even those that did enjoy it have moved on by this point. I’m not seeing great success for this.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Mr. Peabody & Sherman - promo

Release Date: March 7

Synopsis:

Based on Jay Ward’s classic cartoon, Mr. Peabody is the world’s smartest person who happens to be a dog. When his “pet” boy Sherman uses their time traveling WABAC machine without permission, events in history spiral out of control. It’s up to this most unexpected of “father-son” teams to somehow put things back on track before the space-time continuum is irreparably destroyed.

Analysis: I barely remember the original cartoon and I’m 42. No kid in the audience is going to know who this is at all. That being said, if marketed well it could do okay, but I’m not holding my breath.

Grace of Monaco

Grace of Monaco

Release Date: March 14

Synopsis:

GRACE OF MONACO is focused on the personal story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly during a dispute between Monaco’s Prince Rainier III, and France’s Charles De Gaulle over tax laws in the early 1960s. Nicole Kidman stars as Grace Kelly with Tim Roth as Prince Rainier III. The film is directed by Olivier Dahan (LA VIE EN ROSE).

Analysis: I’m sorry, but when your official synopsis focuses on a tax dispute, you need a new copywriter. I think this will do okay, but it’s going to be a hard sell. Grace Kelly is quickly fading from the group memory of the world.

Need for Speed

NEED FOR SPEED

Release Date: March 14

Synopsis:

Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey (Aaron Paul) gets out of prison determined to settle the score with the man responsible for his false conviction. Tobey tears up the road in a gritty cross-country journey— one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. DreamWorks Pictures’ “Need for Speed” is directed by Scott Waugh (“Act of Valor”), and also stars Dominic Cooper, Ramon Rodriguez, Rami Malek, Imogen Poots, Dakota Johnson and Scott Mescudi.

Analysis: With the untimely death of Paul Walker in a car accident, it will be interesting to see if movie goers are still interested in films about fast cars.

Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club

Release Date: March 14

Synopsis:

Brought together by an incident at their children’s school, a group of single mothers from different walks of life bond, and create a support group that helps them find comedy in the obstacles of life, as well as their inner strength to overcome their personal challenges.

Analysis: It’s a Tyler Perry movie. People will see it, others will mock it. Pretty much sums it up.

Veronica Mars

Release Date: March 14

Synopsis:

Veronica Mars, former high school sleuth, has moved to New York City with her boyfriend Stosh “Piz” Piznarski an indefinite amount of time after the events of Season 3. She wishes to distance herself as far from her hometown Neptune as possible, but is forced to return to her old hometown when her old boyfriend Logan Echolls is once again accused of murder

Analysis: This film won’t be a huge hit, but after the Kickstarter project, it’s just exciting to see it get made. The loyal fans will be showing up for sure.

Divergent

DIVERGENT

Release Date: March 21

Synopsis:

DIVERGENT is a thrilling adventure set in a future world where people are divided into distinct factions based on their personalities, Tris Prior (Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

Analysis: Seeing as the script has already been commissioned for the second book in the series, it’s obvious that we’re looking at the attempted launch of another franchise. I know nothing of the books, but as we’ve seen, not all novel series turn into film series successfully.

Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted

Release Date: March 21

Synopsis:

Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid, Dublin and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine—the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit—and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais. The film stars Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty prison guard, and Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon.

Analysis: The last Muppets movie proved there was still life in the brand, but will nostalgia be enough to bring people back to the theater a second time? I think so.

Stretch

Release Date: March 21

Synopsis:

Hard luck limo driver Stretch (Patrick Wilson) is struggling to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie when he picks up a crazed passenger (Chris Pine) whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals.

Analysis: I had to really dig to find any information on this film… and that is never a good sign.

A Haunted House 2

Release Date: March 28

Synopsis:

Crossing new lines and breaking old barriers, A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 is the sequel to the hilarious box-office hit starring Marlon Wayans as Malcolm who, after exorcising the demons of his ex, is starting fresh with his new girlfriend and her two children. After moving into their dream home, Malcolm is once again plagued by bizarre paranormal events. With spine-tingling tension and hilarious punch-lines A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 is inspired by the latest supernatural horror movie franchises and shows that this time… it’s not just the house that’s haunted!

Analysis: I’m not even sure why this movie exists, and then I looked it up and saw the first film was made for $2.5 million and grossed $59 million globally. This one will come and go quickly, but someone will make money off of it.

Noah

Noah film

Release Date: March 28

Synopsis:

The Biblical Noah suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.

Analysis: Rumors of poor test screenings and a scuffle between Darren Aronofsky and the studio over the final cut is never a good sign.

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  • Jack

    Pompeii = sword and sandals Titanic. Famous disaster with a trite love story grafted on–THE SAME trite love story, in fact. I foresee Milo proclaiming himself the king of the world after bloody hijinks in the arena. I think I’ll just watch the Doctor Who Pompeii episode again…

    • http://www.seanpaune.com Sean P. Aune

      It is such a silly looking movie. Not sure what the love affair with swords and sandals this year, but I predict a lot of doom for them.

  • phillip

    Hey Aaron Paul, Good Luck….bitch